Our History & Mission

Our History and Mission

Our Mission

The Handel Society of Music is a non-profit organization that produces fine choral-orchestral performances for the enjoyment and benefit of audiences in the Lower Mainland. The Society also supports and stimulates musical activity in the area and promotes the artistic development of young musicians.

The Society’s mandate is to perform choral orchestra music “from Bach to Britten,” including classical favorites, such as Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. The Society also performs oratorios, masses, and requiems by other great classical composers including Mozart, Haydn, and Schubert.

Our History

The Handel Society of Music was founded in 1966 by Karel ten Hoope, in preparation for Canada’s Centennial year, and was directed by Maestro ten Hoope for 29 years until his retirement in 1995. He was succeeded at that time by our current director, Maestro Johan Louwersheimer.

The Handel Society takes pride in nurturing the musical arts in the Fraser Valley. Local high school and college students are encouraged to sing with the choir, and performances often have included student orchestras, such as the Semiahmoo String Youth Orchestra. Other performances have been joint productions with the Abbotsford Symphony Orchestra, many members of which also are involved with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the CBC Symphony Orchestra, or the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.

The choir supports local musicians, both professional and amateur, to perform in their home community. Many very talented musicians have sung with the Handel Society Choir and continued on with successful careers. Some perform with the Vancouver Opera, the Pacific Opera, or other opera companies in Canada and the U.S. Others have performed in popular musicals. Some have gone abroad to continue their studies and sing. Still others are respected music educators.

Among the talented musicians who have performed with the Handel Society in recent years are:

Sopranos – Nancy Washeim, Kresha Faber, Melanie Kruegar, Lambroula Pappas, Debra DaVaughn, Raphael Wagner, Alexandra Liebich-Tait, Julie Duerichen, Alison Nystrom

Altos – Ingrid Mapson, Colleen Renihan, Megan Lathan, Caroline Harder, Wendy Hatala-Foley, Vanesa Acuto, Sonya Sweeney

Tenors – Lucas van Lierop, William George, Christopher Simmons, Angus Stuart, Marcel Van Neer, John Bacon, Colin Balzer, Paul Ouellette, John Arsenault, Phillip Grant, Mark DeSilva

Bass – Alan Imbach, Robert Gelderman, Richard Williams, Willy Miles-Grenzberg, Richard DeVillier, Tyler Duncan, Chad Louwerse, Angus Bell, Andrew Greenwood, Dale Throness, Jeremy Ludwig